UNDP's Gender Equality Strategy and first year of implementation

Statement by Haoliang Xu at the Evaluation Session of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Annual Session 2023, on the implementation of the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy, 2022-2025

June 7, 2023

Madame Chair, members of the Executive Board, colleagues, and friends

Thank you for joining us to report and reflect on the first year of our Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025.

Gender equality makes a profound difference in women’s lives. It determines our future as humanity. Every gain we make brings countries closer to achieve development, and women closer to equality in decision-making, to decent work, to quality services and to safety. 

2022 was a year of transition. As you know, we developed the gender equality strategy based on consultations with 122 country offices and over 1,000 people. 

As a result, ownership of the Gender Equality Strategy was unprecedented: 99 country offices aligned strategies or gender plans to the corporate strategy, and our performance remained strong.

In 2022, we moved progressively from recovery responses to COVID-19 to more structural work. Especially in areas such as signature solution one on gender-equal economies, where we invested in supporting universal social protection and helped 19 countries to develop integrated care systems.

We continued the expansion of long-standing areas of our work. For instance, in 2022 the Climate Promise met its goal of 100 countries integrating gender equality considerations in climate action plans.

UNDP continued to invest in gender equality more than the average of other development actors.

Lastly, for the first time, we are engaging proactively with women’s and feminist organizations. We tracked our partnerships with them and found them in 108 country offices. We plan to carry out a deeper analysis in 2023.

Major development results over the past year 

With UNDP support, 71.5 million women gained essential services. Yet ending poverty also demands a major shift in economic thinking. So, UNDP is rapidly scaling up support to structural changes, such as through comprehensive care systems or integrating gender equality in 86% of new Financing Frameworks for SDGs. For instance,

  • A new care policy in the Dominican Republic became a model for the Caribbean. 
  • A care georeferencing tool helped to accelerate the redistribution of care work in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru and Uruguay.
  • 234 measures in diverse countries increased women’s leadership and equal participation.

What does it mean in practice? 

  • Armenia, for example, applied a 30 per cent quota and women gained over a third of seats in the National Assembly.
  • 32 million women accessed justice. Our partnership with UN Women has ensured this number continues to rise.
  • 17 countries used gender analysis in disaster recovery plans. 5.4 million women in crisis settings accessed jobs.

We met our commitment of helping to increase women’s environmental leadership at all levels: in 2022, 96 countries backed quotas for women in local land and water management committees.

For instance, Cambodia established 223 women’s savings groups that provide seed capital to manage natural resources. 

We cannot realize gender equality alone. UNDP forged hundreds of new partnerships and deepened existing ones. UN-Women remains our closest UN partner for gender equality, and we also open new ground working with new partners such as faith organizations. 

Institutional Results

UNDP was again among the best-performers on the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In 2022, UNDP raised its score and met or exceeded 94% of targets.  

Our Gender Equality Seal reached over 85 offices and 1,700 colleagues though its learning plan.

We delivered world-class training on Leadership for Gender Equality and a certificate for 30 resident representatives.

Towards continuous improvement and innovation, we designed the pillars of two global learning labs that in 2023 will offer frontier knowledge on inclusive economies and gender equality and energy.

Despite development finance stretching to a breaking point, we increased investment in gender equality. 

66% of total expenditures contributed to gender equality, up from 60% in 2021.

Lessons learned and last reflections

We learned that connecting women to modern power is critical but does not on its own lead to gender equality. That is why we are doing much more to ensure that energy initiatives – including the mini-grids programme- also help to transform social norms and improve women’s economic and social status.  

In our commitment to leaving no one behind, we are aware that we need to improve our intersectional gender approach across countries and work streams. 

Excellencies, together, we are implementing an ambitious, actionable plan, one worthy of investment. We thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to the next milestones in our shared journey to gender equality.

Thank you !